I am not a fan of the Calgary Stampeders, but I am not foolish enough to think they won’t win Sunday’s 100th Grey Cup against the Toronto Argonauts because they are the better football team. As I look at the two teams, there are four factors that I believe will swing this game into the favour of the Stamps. In no particular order, here are those four:
1. Coaching: Stampeders coach and GM John Hufnagel has been in this spot before. In 2008, he took his Stampeders into Montreal to play the Alouettes in a game where Calgary was the decided underdog. Hufnagel delivered an inspirational pre-game speech and it worked as the Stampeders were the better team that afternoon. The only thing different this time is despite the game being played in Toronto, Calgary is favoured. On the other sideline is rookie head coach Scott Milanovich. The former Montreal offensive co-ordinator has been to the Grey Cup many times, but not as the head coach. In the big game, Hufnagel wins out and that will be huge once kickoff hits.
2. Fast starts: Calgary has been known to get out of the gate quickly this year and jumping out to an early advantage has had its dividends. No team scored more than Calgary in the first quarter as they put up 144 points in the regular season. They also scored in the first minute of the Western final to get them rolling against B.C. On the other hand, the Argos gave up 117 points which was the second most allowed in the first quarter.
3. Big plays: A big play in the CFL is a run that is at least 20 yards, a pass that is at least 30 yards or a return that is least 40. Calgary led the CFL in big plays with 63 in 2010 and one would expect with the likes of Jon Cornish, Romby Bryant and Maurice Price that they will have more on Sunday. The Argos defense is not one to get to the quarterback as they only registered a league-low 27 sacks. That means Kevin Glenn should get more than adequate time to seek out his receivers down the field while allowing Cornish the ability to create some long runs.
4. Kevin Glenn: Coming into the season and coming into the playoffs, the 33 year old probably thought he didn’t have a chance at being the starting quarterback in the Grey Cup. The CFL voyageur was supposed to be the backup in Calgary this year, but he was called upon to lead the team to a second place finish after Drew Tate’s shoulder injury. When Tate was healthy, Hufnagel shunned Glenn, but he needed him again after Tate’s injury in the Western semi-final. Glenn will be the first to tell you that his first chance at being in the big game is likely his last chance and he wants to make the most of it. I expect Kevin Glenn to be extremely focused and extremely sharp. He will be at the top of his game as he sends a message to Hufnagel and perhaps the Ottawa franchise when it comes time to find a quarterback as I will be shocked if he is protected by the Stampeders when it comes time for the team in the nation’s capital to start stocking their roster.
In the end, I expect the Stampeders to win this one comfortably over the Argos 32 – 19.
How comfortable am I? Well I just put a $20 bet on the Stamps -2.5 to win on BetHubb and if you don’t agree you can actually bet me personally. BetHubb is a sports betting social network with real peer to peer betting. If you want you can even place your own bet on the game and bet with friends or rivals.
If your thinking the Argos are going to win I’ll take any reasonable bet you challenge me to.
Follow this link to create an account and look for me under the username, mbregina.